Guide to the company Annual Return – Form AR01 (363a)

Limited company contractors will be aware that, each year, they have to submit an ‘Annual Return’ form to Companies House. So, what is the purpose of Form AR01?

[Please Note that the Annual Return has been replaced by the Confirmation Statement since June 2016]

Annual Return basics

By law, all registered UK companies have to submit an Annual Return form to Companies House. The form contains a ‘snapshot’ of your company information at that moment in time.

You need to submit Form AR01 once a year (usually on the anniversary of your company incorporation date).

The vast majority of companies submit online these days – and it’s more than likely that your accountant can do this on your behalf. However, as a company director, you are ultimately responsible to ensure that the form is submitted within 28 days of your ‘due date’. The financial penalties for late submission are fairly harsh.

The decreasingly fashionable paper version of the Annual Return will cost you £30 to submit, whereas if you use the ‘WebFiling’ service, you will be charged £15. You can read more about the electronic filing service at Companies House.

What information is captured?

The Annual Return contains the following data about your company:

  • Your company name
  • Company’s registered address
  • Company’s Registration number
  • Type of company (‘limited by shares’ for IT contractors)
  • Your principal business activities
  • Details of company secretary (if you have one)
  • Company director details
  • Details of shareholders
  • Information on the issued share capital
  • Your company’s ‘made up date’

Further Details

It is worth noting that, from April 2008, the company secretary is now an optional appointment for limited companies as a result of changes incorporated into the Companies Act 2006.

You can read more about the Annual Return service at Companies House.

In all likelihood, your accountant will submit your Annual Return for you each year but double-check before assuming this is the case.

Form AR01 replaced the old Form 363a from 1st October 2009.

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Last updated: 16th June 2019